director Garry S. Grant
I’ve been getting into Mario Bava over the past 10 years, slowly working my way through his oeuvre and liking and increasingly loving his movies. He’s really become a favorite of mine, a nouveau favorite, if you will, but more and more a favorite.
I’ve had this documentary about him in my film queue for pretty much the whole time since I started going through his films, but it lingered on there among the hundreds of other films. You know, I’m not even entirely sure what inspired me to finally pop it to the top and finally watch it.
Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre is an adequate documentary, featuring some historical narration about the man and his career as well as a plethora of clips and a spate of interviews with family, collaborators, and fans like Joe Dante (who seems to be the most frequent interview subject in documentaries that I’ve watched over the past year). Bava’s inventiveness and innovation are explored, having brought the horror film back to Italy, spawned the Giallo film genre, maybe spawned the slasher film, among his many career highlights. His relative obscurity is also addressed, credited to his having stayed in Italy in his career as part of why his “never got famous”.
As I said, Bava is becoming a favorite of mine, which may sound like cautious and maybe faint praise, but honestly, my favorite directors is a personally hallowed list to which not just anybody suddenly sidles up and jumps on. This movie is only an hour in run-time but to its credit, it covers the basics of his life and career, workman-like in manner, not really terribly insightful but practical. So, I found it useful.